Salmonella biofilm forming ability on Reusable Plastic Crates: Risk of transfer of contamination to fresh product

Reusable plastic crates (RPC’s) are being adopted by the food industry due to the perceived benefits of reduced waste (i.e. paper board), economics and sustainability. However, by reusing crates there is a possibility of distributing contamination from one user to the next if the RPC’s are not sanitized after leaving retailer. Evidence collected over the last 3 years has highlighted that RPC’s delivered to growers/packers can have high microbial load through improper sanitation. However, the actual risk of pathogens, like Salmonella, persisting on crates and contaminating fresh produce remains unknown. The proposed work will establish the extent of food safety risks of Salmonella being present on RPC’s used to pack fresh produce (cucumber and tomatoes) and the efficacy of current sanitizing methods to inactivate the pathogen.  Understanding the risk posed by RPC’s will enable interventions to be put in place to enhance food safety of fresh produce.

Faculty Supervisor:



Paper and Paperboard Packaging Environmental Council


Food science




University of Guelph



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